Reforming The Webby Awards

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I’m not griping about Tuesday night’s Webby Awards simply because MotherJones.com, winner of 2005 and 2006 Webbys for Best Political Blog, wasn’t even nominated this year. I’m griping because I don’t think that the awards show is headed in the right direction.

First, it’s not televised. The result is that awards nominees don’t get the same attention that Broadway performers (at the Tonys) or even sound technicians (at the Oscars) do. Why can’t web awards be a full-fledged red carpet event? With Tim Gunn tactfully commenting on Arianna Huffington’s poor taste in dress, or kooky Joan Rivers telling Kevin Drum that his wife looks great, even though he has actually brought his cat Domino as his date?

In its infancy, it was nice that Webby Award winners were limited to five word speeches. But now that so many winners are among the world’s best and brightest, I think we’d all like to hear what they have to say in more than 1/3 of a haiku.

As for the award categories themselves, they need to be reformed. Individual bloggers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and other talented people don’t get the recognition they deserve by way of the Webby’s current list of 70 generalized categories.

And while Mother Jones has clearly reaped the benefits of winning these awards, the fact that they are “pay to play” makes it such that some web sites never get the recognition they deserve.

Maybe it’s up to someone else to start a new system of web-based awards. How would one go about doing this? Easy: First give the awards more visibility and hype than the Webbys, then give the winners a higher karat statuette.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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